How becoming a caregiver led me to create the Recovery Brobe

“Leap and the net will appear.”

My mother’s words have echoed in my head repeatedly over time. With them, I’ve learned to live my life by truly believing if you trust in yourself and have faith in what you’re doing, somehow everything will work out.

It’s with this dose of trust and good faith that The Brobe was born.

At age 24, I was both newly married and a new mom when my husband became chronically ill with kidney failure. My plan to be a stay-at-home-mom quickly changed as I began working odd jobs to make ends meet and support my growing family. I would work as an administrative assistant, office manager, waitress, make-up artist – you name it. Sometimes I’d have as many as three jobs at once, but still have to decide between paying the light bill and putting dinner on the table.

In between my busy work schedule, I had taken on another new role too: caregiver. I’d drive my husband to and from dialysis, provide his day-to-day care, and get him to the hospital on a regular basis, our young daughter usually in tow. At the time, so focused on the day-to-day, I didn’t realize how much I was learning or what impact this experience would have on me.Brobe

When my husband passed away, I learned firsthand life was too short not to follow my dreams. I decided not to spend my time working for something or someone I did not believe in. So in 2011, when a close friend underwent a double mastectomy and three reconstructive surgeries during her breast cancer recovery, I took the leap of faith my mother always talked about and created The Recovery Brobe.

My friend explained the difficulties of finding a post-operative garment that was functional and comfortable, not to mention feminine. After she showed me what the hospital provided her, I was appalled! I hated thinking of the mothers, sisters, daughters and friends wearing that garment during an otherwise traumatic time.

After doing my research on what would make a successful recovery garment, I contacted a local seamstress who helped me design a pattern and create several prototypes. Prototypes in hand, I met with the Executive Director and Marketing Director of Susan G. Komen of Austin, who introduced the garment to a woman recovering from a single mastectomy.

After trying on the different options, she looked up at me, tears in her eyes and said, “This makes me very sad for all of the women who have Brobenot had this in the past. You have to make these garments!”

Today, the Recovery Brobe features two pockets on either side to host post-operative fluid drains. The detachable Recovery Bra, also sold separately, features inside pockets for ice packs and/or prosthetic breast. Its Velcro front-closure makes independent dressing easier and more comfortable. The robe’s ¾” sleeves allow for easy IV access during treatment and the fabric is durable, yet luxurious for comfortable wear. It has become the FIRST bra + robe combination designed for breast cancer recovery, made to be worn before, during and after recovery.

We’ve also expanded our line of recovery accessories with the Shower Belt by BrobeBrobe

After the success of the Recovery Brobe, a new group of women – new and expectant mothers – raised their voices, asking for a functional, yet feminine nursing garment for wear in the hospital and at home. In May 2013, the Mommy Brobe launched, featuring the same high quality design in a bra + robe combination specifically for breastfeeding.

It has been eight years since my first husband passed away. I’ve since remarried my best friend and added two more kiddos to my household. I remain fortunate enough to spend my days as a one-woman-show and working mom building this company dedicated to empowering women by giving them the strength to live beautifully.

I continue to find my strength and motivation in the stories and experiences my customers share with me. And I will continue pushing The Brobe forward to find new ways to give back to these same women, the ones who inspire me daily.

Allison Schickel, mom, designer and CEO, launched her company, The Brobe, in 2012 with The Recovery Brobe, a recovery garment for women battling breast cancer. Since then, she has single-handedly grown her line of feminine, yet functional loungewear to include The Mommy Brobe for breastfeeding mothers as well as several recovery accessories, including Shower Belt by Brobe. Allison has also been recognized for “making her mark on Austin,” forging her own path and exemplifying superior leadership skills for female entrepreneurs as a finalist in The Austin Business Journal’s “Profiles in Power” awards


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